The Let's Play Archive

Rondo of Swords

by Einander

Part 62: War of Liberation

Chapter 29: War of Liberation
(Or, "")

This is a very, very talky chapter.

What do you think? Do we have a chance of stopping them this time?

...yes? I mean, seriously. How did Grand Meir conquer two entire continents if it's this easy to beat them with a ragtag liberation army?
Alberich...? Are the wounds you got in prison still sore?
Oh, no, I'm all right.
I see... Well, philosophical issues are one thing, but don't bring them onto the battlefield.
I'm sorry.
It's all right. I was the same way, long ago.

Before, I'd have laughed at an important enemy general saying "to the death!" the first time we fought them. Then Clotho died on her first real battle. So who knows? That might be true.

Without Hurt, Alhambra's stats are 53/24/31. With Hurt and Adamancy 4, Alhambra's stats are 48/22/27. Basically a swat on the nose, especially since she's still leveling really quickly. Losing 20 damage really isn't that bad, and the amulet improvements give her +46 defense for a net +44 improvement.

Without Hurt, Izuna's stats are about 67+57/25/41. When Hurt, Izuna's stats are 33+51/12/21. (The lower +modifier is due to Invoke Might recalculating off of a lower Attack.) This one actually kind of hurts! 60 damage is nothing to sneeze at. That said, one of the big reasons I'm using her is that she's a giant sack of HP, and Hurt doesn't affect HP at all. She gets two Topaz Amulets and only loses 5 net defense. (It'd be positive, but her accuracy is kind of awful; keeping the Dragon Medal for +accuracy is a good idea.)

Ehh, why not? It's not like we have a crippling manpower shortage or anything. (Selmer's Seal actually appeared in Quests this time. I cheated for two Thief Proofs and Selmer's Seal this time.)

Simon gets +39 in Amulets and learns Melee Guard 4, which should make him really damn tough for a level 18 unit. Igraine learns Sedna Prison 4 and Invoke Mind 3. Alhambra picks up Will of War 2 because she has nothing else to spend points on.

Another familiar stage.

The majority of the enemies have no skills, for all intents and purposes. The left War Mage has Magna Volt, the right War Mage has Meteor Gate. The High Priest has both Cure Drop and Oratoriorae.

The "same phase" restriction on Defender renders it as useless as ever, while Will of War isn't very useful on enemies that you absolutely must kill quickly anyway.

Aggressor is a bit more threatening.

For once, both of the paired Guardians have the same skills.

Alberich, what happened to your skills? He's not wearing any accessories either. Is he so deep in self-doubt that he forgot how to fight or something? That's a weird mix of poetic and stupid.

Matthias also has his Gold Ring and a North Medal (+30 defense -25 attack). The latter is a pretty niche accessory, but it's amazing for anyone in that niche. Aegil loves it, for example.

Once again, there's no conversations available among our units. Best to get to it, then.

The first priority is eliminating these pests.

The Snipers and all of the Infantry move towards our team. The Armors and the rest of the top group stay where they are.

At the end of turn 1:

...Young Master?
An impostor, eh? Which would mean my father died for a man he didn't know...
Young Master...

Young Master!
I can't let my subjects think I'm an uncaring ruler. We're going to help Bretwalde!

As before, all of the newcomers speak to Marie or Altrius.

Marie and Sasha

I'm here to make sure the Young Master doesn't do anything reckless.
Teehee... Emir Ansom really is dear to you, isn't he, Sasha?
I could ask the same of you, Princess.
Well, Master Altrius holds a special place in your heart, doesn't he?

Well then... Let's go.
Yes. We have much work to do, to protect those dearest to us.

Altrius and Ansom

Ansom! I'm so sorry... this whole time, I posed as your childhood friend...
What of it? Isn't there something more important going on right now? Hurry and head for the palace!
Huh? But I lied to you...
Are you still stuck on that? If I was letting that bother me, would I have come here?
So you're saying...
It doesn't matter.

Is there anything else you have to ask of me?
No... that's all. Let's head to the palace.
After you, Altrius!

Snipers down.

Izuna and Altrius don't kill any of them, but that's what Sasha and Ansom are there for.

...Or not. Ansom attacks first and hits one of the two who are right next to each other. Despite both enemies being is range, Sasha's AI only goes after one.

At least the survivor attacks Altrius and Izuna instead of a squishier target. The Infantry and Snipers continue to advance.

We have officially reached Post-Amulet Scarcity. We don't have all Topaz on everyone, but the people who are meant to be taking hits are about as tough as they'll ever be.

Then, at the end of enemy turn 2, there is a lot of talking.

Sir Matthias... The real Prince Serdic, the one inside the castle... It's only his corpse, animated with Mephreyu's magic, isn't it?
You figured it out?
To rely on evil magic and corpse defilement to defeat the Bretwalde Army... What could the Emperor be thinking?

I understand that. And I won't say anything that happens on the battlefield is fair or unfair. If the "Prince Serdic" leading the Bretwalde Army happens to be an impostor... I have no problem with exploiting that fact. But there remain lines that should not be crossed.

Wh... What do you mean!?
Protest all you like, but Gauss has turned to Mephreyu for help. Their partnership is likely to become stronger from this point on. If you remain with the Empire, you will only continue to suffer.
Are you saying I should betray the Emperor?
Once your confidence in authority is shaken, it is difficult to reestablish. Divert your efforts instead to traveling the path you feel to be correct.

...I'm sorry.
Those who follow the path of righteousness need not apologize. They should hold their heads high.
You're right... Thank you for everything you've done for me. Farewell, Matthias.

If the end of Route B is any indication, then Matthias himself wants Gauss to step off of his path. But he can't leave his old friend and ally to fight by himself.

As far as sympathetic enemies go, Matthias is more-or-less it. I think he works better because the game is so low-key about it. There's never any navel-gazing; he's simply a good man on the wrong side, and if you don't care, then the story isn't going to try and make you.

Why so grumpy, Kay?
I'm not grumpy!
Does it really bother you about being lied to all this time?

That "about" is incredibly awkward there.

Shut up, both of you! Oh, do whatever you want--I'm going home!
Are you really okay with that?
Kay... It was thanks to you all that I avoided being forced to ally with Grand Meir. You saved me from having to betray you.

Well, if that's how Kay feels, maybe it's time the two of us just went and joined the battle.
I'll go, too. I still can't forgive him for passing himself off as the Prince like that... But for the Princess' [sic] sake, I'll restrain myself for now.

Like Sasha and Ansom, they appear at the bottom, this time at the bottom-right corner. I imagine they'll charge off into the enemy midst and get themselves an ignomious (if temporary) death.

No counters, thankfully. This lets Igraine and Marie move up.

This should let the bottom-right group take this one out.

When I said the AI was suicidal, I really wasn't kidding.

This dodge isn't enough to save her, sadly.

The Armors are all aggressive now. Alberich, meanwhile, is charging directly at us.

Three more conversations!

Altrius and Margus

But the hero always shows up in the end. And sure enough... Sir Margus has arrived.
Hah! You never change, Margus.
I suppose taking offense at that would only reveal my poor sense of judgement... [sic] After all, if you weren't one who could be trusted, the Princess wouldn't stand by your side. Then, too...

I couldn't forgive myself if I wasn't right there with them.
You never change...

Altrius and Kay

Kay, I understand how you feel, I do. So if you're going to judge me for deceiving you all, you have the right. But can it at least wait until the battle is over?
Because my goal here is to keep my promise to Prince Serdic.
Your promise?
I know it's selfish, but I have to finish this.
Please, Kay.

So why didn't I see it before? Well... I was probably trying not to think about how I couldn't protect the real Prince. Master Altrius... For now, I will follow your orders.
But don't misunderstand me. I'm only doing this for the Princess' [sic] sake. Not yours.
Thank you, Kay.

Altrius and Alicia

Oh, Alicia... I didn't think all of you would come.
You should say what you mean. By "all of you," you mean "Kay and Margus," right?
No, I meant the three of you.
I was about to ally with the Empire, and changed my mind.

Do I seem like a woman foolish enough to do that?
No, that's not...
It's true we haven't known each other for very long, Master Altrius. Of course I understand your reasons for the deception... Nevertheless, it came as a shock.
Umm... I'm sorry.
What are you apologizing for?

It isn't your fault at all, Master Altrius.
No, you see...
Hmm. I suppose both Kay and Margus neglected to tell you much about me. That's about what I get for leaving it to those two...


...I see.
You're saying you want to know what kind of woman I am in the heat of battle. Excellent. I couldn't think of a better gauge of chaacter myself. I'll show you how a woman like me fights, Master Altrius! Now if you'll excuse me...

That is perhaps the most advanced case of someone losing control of a conversation I've seen in some time. I think you need classes on conversation, Altrius. And maybe a therapist.

Anyway, that's over. Back to the battle! ...where half of our units are out of our control. Want to make bets on how long they last? I'm guessing four turns, but that's only if their AI is set to "be paranoid around magic" like important enemy units are.

All of Igraine's improvements since last stage add up to about a 50% damage boost; she nearly kills an Infantry from full health now and chops 2/3 off of the Armor.

Now it's time for forty more text boxes! Yaaaaaaay. This conversation is available only if he talked to Alberich in chapter 19.

Altrius and Alberich

You're Alberich, right?
You remember my name. Perhaps you also remember my policy against showing mercy in battle?
However, I am no longer a citizen of Grand Meir. So you can lower your sword. I don't intend to fight you.

...Then why did you even say that? Pointless dickery?

I guess Altrius agrees with me.
I've left the Empire, so you and I have no more reason to fight. Though I suppose if you want revenge for my part in the fall of Bretwalde... I certainly couldn't blame you.

Wouldn't you be the one who wants revenge? What with how we killed all of your men, beat you up, and then mugged you? Really, I'm more thankful than anything. That Black Ring has been really useful.
But if you intend to kill me, you'll find that I won't simply lay down and die.
No. I have no desire to fight anyone I don't have to. But... what exactly is going on?
Even war has its ethics. Defiling soldiers' corpses is in violation of them. That's all.
You're talking about Prince Serdic.
I owe much to Emperor Gauss, but my heart is no longer into fighting for his cause. So perhaps it's time I quietly took my leave of the battlefield.

And betray the Empire? Don't patronize me. I may have lost interest in fighting for Grand Meir... But that doesn't mean I'll switch sides at the drop of a hat.
Didn't you just say that what they're doing is unforgivable, though? If that's true, and you had a hand in starting it... Then you have a duty to stop Prince Serdic. Don't you agree?
...You'd say anything to get me to join up, wouldn't you?

To be honest, I'd be happy if you were to fight with me. But I can't force you to raise your sword against your friends. In the end, you should just do what you think is best.

A final conclusion, that, notably, parallels the Matthias-Alberich dialogue above.
...What's your name?
Your name.

In light of my earlier comments on Prince Serdic, Altrius's lack of a name, and the dickery of the former to the latter, I find this line really funny.
Oh! My name is Altrius. Thank you, Alberich.
There's no need to thank me. This is my duty, right?

And Alberich joins up! You may have been expecting this, since I repeatedly mentioned "route exclusive character," singular. He's just as he was in Route B, really, and he's yet another yellow unit in our happy little clusterfuck. The main difference is that he doesn't bring us the Black Ring this time.

Hopefully Izuna will deflect a little fire from Altrius. He might have a hard time surviving this otherwise.

I doubt the allied units will be enough to take out even one of these Armors, but... Every bit helps.

I think Alhambra has a class penalty and Simon a class advantage against these Armor-type enemies. He did a surprisingly high amount compared to her.

Huh. Didn't expect Alberich to retreat like that. Expected more of a suicidal charge at the enemy Snipers.

It's a near thing, but no one dies this time.

I manage to eliminate all of the cavalry, so that's one major problem eliminated.

The AI policy on OBs is kind of problematic here. Remember how I mentioned Alicia's OB transfers a part of her meter? At level 1, it's 20%. AI allies will basically always use OBs when they can. This means AI Alicia can sometimes use her OB several times in a row for very little real effect.

Not this time, thankfully.

It seems the Snipers are set to low MC AI.

The War Mages, meanwhile, appear to be attempting to surrender. Unfortunately, we have no way of recognizing their surrender when Matthias is that far away, especially since it may be an attempt at clever treachery. Sorry, guys, it's nothing personal.

The Guardians don't hit *that* hard, so I'm not being excessively cautious.

...oh my.

Alberich? You are officially the most competent AI ally I've had so far by a lot. Getting three people with Ragnarok Dusk is actually pretty impressive, especially since Matthias was one of them.

Only the Guardians are left. Between the AI allies and my own team, it's not very hard to kill them. Altrius has 3 OB, so I position him such that Matthias will have to end his turn next to him.

Then every single AI ally crowds right around him, scuttling that plan.

Good thing Matthias just sits there, then!

Simon and Alhambra attack first, ensuring Altrius can kill with Brave Ray. Unfortunately, ZOC ensures that the first one to attack will be in firing range of Brave Ray.

It's okay, though. Simon is pretty tough.

Gauss... I leave the rest to you...

Matthias dies. With Alberich joining up, Grand Meir has now lost three of its four Grands to Bretwalde.

The North Medal is the same as it was on Matthias. There's no one in particular who should be using it on this team, but... Hell, Selmer put a bunch of growth into trying to take a hit. I may give it to him. He doesn't have Aegil's crazy HP, but it should at least protect him from a stray arrow or a few spells.

It's not over yet, though.
We were forced to flee our home once before... but this time, we stand our ground, no matter what!

Total resets since chapter 20: 4 (+0)[/i]

Next time:
The Promised King